The malevolent winds pummeled my world,
Deafening sounds of fury evoked fear,
Great oaks plucked from the earth like dandelions,
Yanked from the gardens of the southern belles.
Cold, dark, muddy waters surged, effacing
Floors, walls; encompassing all matter,
Human and inanimate. No regard
For life or value. No hope for the weak.
Climb! Climb! Sanctuary in the attic.
Katrina wailed as murky waters rose.
My haven, now a bleak muddy coffin.
Shrieking frenzied prayers, grasping at shadows,
Groping frantically——for what? Miracles?!
The ax! A blessed instrument of hope!
Climb yet higher! Ascending through the roof,
Now a solitary island scoured
By a vile, savage sea. Exhaustion weighed
As a heavy shroud, compelling slumber,
A brief hiatus from reality.
Vigil screeching gulls beckoned consciousness.
Dawn’s soft haze revealed images–faces!
A soldier, a fireman, and a medic
Heroes! Bearers of hope for the living!
Greeters to a new dawn, a new day — a new life.
Source of Inspiration for Katrina’s Heroes
My husband and I work for the largest catastrophe firm in the nation, contracting to large insurance companies for added personnel during disasters. Our assignment to work Hurricane Katrina revealed countless stories of horror and devastation. My job was to monitor “high priority” claims, claims involving death. After reading the adjuster’s reports in the computer, I was overwhelmed by the terror Katrina inflicted on the people of the southern coast. These stories led me to write about Katrina’s heroes, the thankless rescuers. With this poem, I honor those heroes of Katrina’s survivors.
Katrina’s Heroes was published in Songs of Honour, Noble House London, 2006. This poem was also published in Centres of Expression, Noble House, London, 2007.